As big data becomes more than just the latest buzzword in business, more and more organizations are looking for an MBA with a business analytics concentration with a broad range of modern, data-driven skills. Companies are no longer fascinated with data-warehousing and raw business intelligence professionals; they now look for people who can analyze all the data that the company has been gathering. Recent studies have shown an increase in the business analytics salary range, while the salaries for data warehousing professionals are stagnant.
A Shift From Intelligence to Analytics
The difference between business intelligence and business analytics may seem slight, but as the industry of managing and mining data becomes more complex, these definitions are becoming more complex as well.
Business intelligence, a term that has been around since the middle of the 20th century, is — quite simply — putting learned intelligence to use in your business. “Analytics,” on the other hand, describes not only business intelligence but also many aspects of data interaction — warehousing, collection, mining, modeling, management and retention, for example. As such, the salary range for business analytics professionals can vary widely, depending on the specifics of the job.
More than 90 percent of the world’s currently available data was generated in the last few years, and the data growth rate shows no sign of slowing down. As “petabyte” and “exabyte” replaced “gigabyte” and “terabyte” in IT lexicons, the term that came into widespread use to encapsulate these new — and enormous — datasets was “big data.” Big data was, by definition, too big to finesse through traditional means such as manual scans. It required the use of software tools; even with the tools transforming data into structured sets, there were still millions and millions of records.
This created a need to mine the data for smaller, more explicitly ordered sets, to model the data to create insights into change over time and place, and to sift for tiny anomalies that can lead to incredible market insight.
The Value of an Analyst
As machine learning and automated data governance become more widespread, an MBA with a business analytics concentration can spend less time wrangling the data and more time learning from it. Senior management wants to know where the market has been and where it is headed, and insightful discovery and reporting from big data sets is going to help them make those decisions.
As such, management has come to recognize the usefulness of an MBA with a business analytics concentration, and business analytics salary ranges are reflecting this demand. A growth rate of more than five percent is likely in this market, and salary ranges are starting to cross into six-figure ranges.
Whether your area of focus is prescriptive analytics, supply chain management, or SSAS (SQL server analysis services), you can gain the necessary skills to meet the needs of a prospective employer by earning an online MBA with a business analytics concentration from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
What Skills Do You Need?
Managers look for strong IT skills, but they also watch for communication skills that go beyond giving presentations at business meetings. Knowing how to effectively mine and clearly present data is critical to guiding senior management. Your organization’s data might hold the key to market domination, but if you can’t extract and present this insight to decision-makers, the data itself holds little value.
Learning about document management life cycles and data retention policies will be useful for an MBA with a business analytics concentration. You need to know where your data is coming from, how it comes to you, and how long the company will store it. If the future of the company hinges on your analysis of its data, you want to be sure that the data you’re getting is actually good — and verifiable.
Finally, it comes down to initiative. Big data analysis is akin to mining for gold. No one knows what you might find or where you might find it. Data scientists are still building the tools that will be in widespread use in the next decade. In fact, the right analysis might create an entirely new market.
An MBA with a business analytics concentration can look at internal data processes, too. An organization with disparate record management systems or data retention models is rife with inefficiencies and data duplication. Applying large-scale data warehousing solutions can reduce data fragmentation, thereby bringing the entire organization into one system that is not only more efficient but also better mined by other systems within the organization. Efficient data warehousing can create opportunities for inter-departmental collaboration, which can help your organization beat the competition for time to market.
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